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Unsolicited Parenting Advice from YOUR Mom: How To Deal

Recognize that it’s OK to set personal boundaries with your mom, no matter how much you love and cherish her.
18 Jul 2016 – 1:46 PM EDT

They say “Mom knows best.” But what happens when your own mother means well, but she starts

nagging you about the way you’re raising your children? And what happens when it starts really

annoying you? Moms and daughters have had complicated and quite complex relationships since the

dawn of time. (Ok, we can’t guarantee that, but we can assume cave moms and daughters bickered

in their loincloths and rolled their eyes at each other!) Recognize that it’s OK to set personal

boundaries with your mom, no matter how much you love and cherish her. After all, she raised you

and look how amazing you turned out, right?

If faced with a situation where mom is really making you feel like the worst parent ever, and the

friction is intense, then it’s time to speak up for yourself against the woman you brought you into

this world. You can do even it without bickering; or at least try.


“It's never easy to get unsolicited advice from your parent, especially when it comes to parenting

advice. It's bound to feel critical, and on some level it probably is,” says Dr. Robi Ludwig, a New

York-based psychotherapist and author of Your Best Age is Now. “Having said that, it might make

sense, once the initial sting goes away, to consider their advice. Maybe there is some wisdom there

that’s useful or helpful.”


Don’t automatically reject the message, just because of who’s giving it or how it’s being given, adds

Ludwig. “Take a step back before saying or doing anything. Easier said than done, I know!”

In other words—and it’s certainly not easy—try not to react so “fast” when mom says something

such as, “You still swaddle her? Is that really safe?” or “I never used organic shampoo with you or

your brother; so who cares if I use this generic brand in the tub with the baby?”


But if you really feel this advice is intrusive or upsetting, set boundaries, advises Dr. Ludwig. “The

next time you are given unwanted advice, you can say something like, ‘Thanks for your advice, but I have decided to do things this way instead.’ You can always agree to disagree without making anyone ‘wrong.’”


Adds Ludwig: “Try to focus on your parent's intention. If you feel they have you and your child's

well-being in mind, try to keep this in mind when you’re feeling upset or annoyed.” And if you need to lock yourself in the bathroom and scream behind the closed door because you’re mad at your mama, that’s OK, too.


“Sometimes you have to take some space to let your feelings settle down and become more

objectified,” explains Dr. Ludwig. “You may need to allow yourself to feel angry for a period of time

with your mother, and/or to let your mother feel angry with you. The world will probably not end.”

Think about this interaction from another perspective. Realize that your mom may be trying to hold

onto her own feelings of feeling important, says Ludwig, and being needed by you. “She may be

feeling a little displaced or just truly feels she knows best.”


Moms often feel they know best, and try not to let it throw you or your relationship with her too off

balance. “Life is short. Try to make this relationship as workable and pleasant as you can, without

compromising your parenting style or values,” advises Dr. Ludwig. “It just makes life feel better and

more manageable.”

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